After 10 years in the sales profession, I’ve had the good fortune of working with some incredible sales people. Each person was different, different communication style, sense of humor and personality. They all had something in common, each one embodied what I’m calling the three C’s.

Being good at sales is about mastering the fundamentals, being great at sales is about infusing that process with your own unique strengths. Something I experienced early in my career completely changed my professional development. I tried to exactly duplicate the sales pitch of a top performer in our office. What I found, is that no matter how perfect my impression, no matter how exact my imitation, I could not get the same results. Out of sheer exasperation, I was left with no other options, I had to be myself.

It turns out that being yourself actually requires the least amount of effort. Instead of playing a role, you can actually focus on the other person, getting to know who they are, asking good questions and listening to their answers.

That’s when I came up with the three C’s of sales success:


Confidence is your reflection in the world around you. When you receive feedback from your actions and relationships that result in people acknowledging your value, you gain confidence. The more value you deliver the more confident you become. If you are feeling unconfident, endeavor to add more value to others around you. Beware of false confidence; narcissists do not require any external feedback to be confident. False confidence is transparent and it requires energy to maintain, instead focus on adding value to the people around you. Your contribution will result in positive feedback and genuine confidence.


Competence is the result of hard work, mistakes and lessons learned. There is no short cut to competence, but the rewards are endless. When you have reached mastery of your product or service, your competence will be obvious to your prospects. Competence and Confidence is a powerful combination. Beware, when you know you are right, you may be perceived as arrogant or condescending, which leads us to the next C.


Being cool is knowing you’re a master, but not advertising it. It’s allowing your prospect to figure it out on their own. It’s much cooler to be underestimated and surprise people than to come off as pompous and haughty. Infuse a level of cool into your approach, your controlled confidence will only intrigue your prospects more. When they’re ready, ask politely for the sale and seal the deal.